Benjamin DaviesSee other motorhome reviews written by Benjamin Davies
With generously proportioned sofas and a Mercedes-Benz base, find out more about the luxury Marquis County Gloucester in the Practical Motorhome review
Continuing the theme of sleek integration, the GRP roof moulding runs the length of the van and accommodates a neatly recessed awning.
The exterior design lends the van a good amount of practicality, too. For example, the gas locker is thoughtfully located close to the ground. It has storage for two 15kg butane or two 13kg propane bottles, and you gain access to it via a lift-up flap.
On the road
Torque converters are known for being less fuel- and power-efficient than automated manuals, but they do tend to be much smoother. Our tester found that the automatic gearbox coped fairly well, given the weight of the vehicle. We encountered some buffeting from high-sided vehicles and strong winds, but otherwise he found the ’van to be very stable.
The Gloucester returned around 20mpg when driven at an average speed of 60mph. However, the test unit we were given was almost new, so the engine had had little opportunity to bed in – no doubt the economy will improve with use.
We liked the Mercedes cab and appreciated the fact that the handbrake, which is located to the left of the driver’s seat, does not obstruct access to the living quarters. You can lower the lever to prevent it from interfering with the driver’s swivel seat.
Our tester did have one dislike, though, with regard to the number of belted travelling seats. The specification states that the vehicle sleeps six people, but there are only designated seatbelts for the driver and passenger, meaning that just two can safely travel in the ’van, particularly over long distances, which effectively makes this a ‘van for couples. That really cuts into its useability as a family ‘van.
Lounging & dining
However, even though we like the fact that the dining table is sturdy and fits neatly between the two settees, it is impossible to position the table to include anyone sitting in the cab seats at the dinner table, so six can’t dine comfortably. When not in use, though, the table stows securely in a cupboard to the left of the wardrobe.
Beneath the nearside settee is a large storage drawer, which our tester found very useful, particularly for items such as bedding. The profusion of overhead lockers in the lounge means that storage here is generous, too, although we would like to have seen a waste bin, either in the lounge or in the kitchen.
One aspect of the lounge area that really appealed was the excellent lighting, which comes in both direct and diffuse varieties. There’s a big Heki rooflight, ‘mood’ background lighting and halogen spotlights. Together, they make the area light and airy, especially when you take into account the large side windows.
Top marks go to the control panel, too, which has a simple, touchscreen for battery check, water and lights. And the key-fob activated integral lights above the lockers are a great touch.
The microwave, which is located to the right of the oven, is at a sensible height, just above the kitchen counter so it’s easy to access.
The fridge is an 88-litre unit, with full-width freezer compartment, and it’s beneath and to the left of the sink, so it’s easy to get to when you’re in the kitchen.
In general, storage in the kitchen scored pretty well with our tester, who liked the generously sized drawer to the right of the oven, the large pan cupboard below it and the good-sized cutlery drawer. We also like the convenient cupboard below the cutlery drawer, which houses the water heater, gas isolator taps, fuseboard and main dump valve, for easy access when conditions take a turn for the worse. In addition, the main water pump is housed here for ease of maintenance, although our tester felt that the pump was noisy.
There is also proper provision for lighting and ventilation in the kitchen, and, as you’d expect of a ’van in this price range, there’s an extractor fan above the hob, which contains twin halogen downlighters. There are also integral lights above the lockers to provide a little bit more illumination.
The Gloucester incorporates an electrically adjustable orthopaedic bed from German specialists Frolexus. It adjusts in various ways, with each half of the bed able to be raised or lowered independently, via remote hand controls to suit your preferred sleeping arrangements.
Our tester liked the back support which allows for reading in an upright, rather than prone, position. The overhead lockers look like they’re designed to give plenty of headroom when you’re in the reading position, as well,” he observed, “and the two small shelves on either side of the bed give you room for mugs, books and so on.”
The clever LCD TV mount is at the bottom of the bed, and it’s designed to rotate through 180 degrees, so you can view it from the lounge area.
As is the case elsewhere in the Gloucester, the rear bed area offers two forms of lighting: soft background illumination as well as adjustable spotlights.
The overcab bed is spacious enough for six-footers, and has a roof light with an opening vent, but no side windows. Our tester found that there was more than enough headroom, and appreciated the inclusion of a safety net and a privacy curtain.
However, the collapsible metal ladder would benefit from being a little longer so that the angle of entry to the bed is less steep. The opening to the overcab area is a bit restrictive, too, so you’re likely to bump your head on the way up.
The overcab’s mattress has two sections, and we feel it is a little on the thin side. The base of the bed isn't slatted to allow condensation to evaporate and there is no heating duct for the overcab area. We do, however, like the fact that the base and mattress easily folds when not in use, allowing for better access from the cab.
The lounge bed is made up using the two settees, which incorporate slatted bed bases that pull together. It is quick to assemble and makes a comfortable double bed. However, we noted that with this bed assembled, there is no easy way for overcab occupants to visit the toilet during the night, because the ladder can’t reach the floor.
The toilet area features a couple of useful hooks on one wall and an electric-flush toilet with a mirror and a shelf above it.
The attractive, contemporary basin sits above a generously sized storage cabinet with a tambour door. Above it is a second mirror with a chrome spotlight and attractive blue LED mood lighting; this runs down either side of the mirror and provides a surprisingly tasteful design touch, giving the washroom a tiny hint of a glamorous dressing room.
There is a large opaque opening window with PVC blind which, together with the artificial light, ensures that the washroom is well lit. We also like the Truma-heated twin towel rail. But the location of the chrome toilet roll holder, between the sink and toilet, could leave the roll fairly wet after the sink is used.
One is a good-sized underbed locker that will accept chairs, cables and the like, and is easier to access from the outside than from the inside; there, access is restricted due to the electric beds and the special support that they require, meaning this locker is best used for outdoor equipment.
The other exterior locker is a moderately sized wet locker on the nearside, which can be used for wet or dirty items, such as wheel chocks, muddy boots and other outdoor equipment.
Besides the storage provisions already mentioned in the lounge, kitchen and bed areas, there is an average-sized wardrobe beside the entrance door, but due to its half-length dimensions, it is not able to accommodate longer items of clothing. Above the wardrobe is a small storage cupboard for other miscellaneous items.
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave, Extractor fan
Thetford C-200 toilet
It's a well-engineered, luxury motorhome for a couple with accompanying guests on site.
- Spacious lounge; quality materials; low-mounted gas locker; excellent washroom
- Only two belted seats for travel; lounge bed impedes access to the overcab bed when in use; steep ladder for overcab